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Best of Venice, Florence and Rome Laundry and Ironing

Can anyone who has taken this tour give me some insight on how to do laundry on it? I think I would like to do laundry at least once half way through the tour. Also, it’s dumb, but I hate looking wrinkled. Do the hotels generally have an iron like US hotels? Thanks!

Posted by
12598 posts

Hi Teresa -
How exciting for you that you're going to Italy!

We have not taken that tour but that's not really a requirement when it comes to a laundry question. Without meaning to avoid giving a straight answer, some tips?

We've never stayed in an Italian (or Dutch or German or any other hotel abroad that I can think of) that provided an iron/board in the room. Or that I can recall, and we don't stay in lowest-budget places. Some hotels will provide them if you enquire at the desk but ironing is not something we would do anyway.

We have used coin laundries abroad but our trips are usually 3 weeks versus the 11 days (I'm counting your early arrival day in Venice) that you appear to have for your trip, and that includes the day you fly home unless staying longer in Rome. At best you wouldn't need to do a self-serve wash-up until Florence, and I don't know as that's the best use of your 2 afternoons of free time? Wouldn't you rather be exploring the treasures that city has to offer instead?

I think, for trips of this length or even longer, you'll find that most of us pack clothing that doesn't wrinkle easily, and which can be rinsed out in a sink and drip-dried over a night or two. Also, hanging a slightly wrinkled garment in the bathroom during a steamy shower can smooth out some creases. Dark bottoms hide a multitude of minor mishaps so can be worn multiple days without washing. Pack a stain-remover pen or disposable wipe for more visible spots.

Some hotels offer laundry service (they do the wash for you) and those can also found around the cities, albeit for a price. Some travelers prefer those to a self-serve lavanderia as they figure it's $ well spent versus occupying valuable sightseeing time. If you prefer to do it yourself, the desk staff at your hotel can usually direct you to the closest one or we've just googled them up on a map.

But really, I'd try to pack low maintenance, mix-and-match, wrinkle-resistant clothing that won't need more than sink washing/drip drying so that you can make the best use of your free time? You mentioned that cruising is your usual method of tripping, and I think you'll find your tour a very different animal! :O)

Posted by
35 posts

You are probably right, but I have been practice packing my small bag and it’s not looking good. LOL I used to do a lot of backpacking trips in my younger days so I know how to pack light, but I am still finding it hard to get what I think are a reasonable number of clothes (2-3 pants, 4-5 shirts, 2 shoes, and underwear, small toiletry bag, etc) for 11 days in a 21 in suitcase and I am no fashionista. I am thinking of just finding one place in Florence to leave things or do them myself. I have no problem dumping it all in one machine at once.

Posted by
12598 posts

I am thinking of just finding one place in Florence to leave things or
do them myself.

OK, that's fine. If you're not up to sticking to sink washing/drip drying, then just ask your hotel for the nearest service, either do-it-yourself or done-for-you. We have used a coin laundry in Florence but without knowing where you're staying, it's probably not one closest to where you'll be.

Posted by
2486 posts

If you don’t have or don’t want to get travel clothes that dry wrinkle free invest in a travel steamer. Many to choose from on Amazon.

Posted by
35 posts

Because I am going in May I would be concerned that the clothes will be a slightly heavier weight and would not drip dry completely and end up smelling musty having to be packed before completely dry Kathy.

Good idea Alan. The videos on packing on this website recommend not investing in travel clothes because of their weight and just using things you already own and are comfortable in.

Posted by
9833 posts

We travel for up to two months with a 21-inch rollaboard plus a daypack. One extra pair of shoes, two pants (at least one is jeans), 5 tops, and a cardigan are my standard. I wear my 3rd pant (jeans also), plus a cardigan and 6th top. Usually, I can get my lightweight jacket in the suitcase or backpack as well. It does not sound like you are planning to take too much clothing so the 21-inch should be easy.

The time saver is to use a lavanderia where you drop off and pick up. Usually it costs about 20 Euros for us to have all of our clothes done (except what we are wearing). Rick's books always have a recommendation or two and sometimes they will come to you to pick up and drop off. Check the Florence guidebook to see if there is a recommendation. I take items that do not require ironing. Knits and blouses that do not wrinkle are the key; carefully folded, shake 'em out and hang 'em up. I think in a two-month trip last year, I did use an iron on my husband's two colored shirts twice. I do rinse out our "smalls" in the hotel room between laundry days.

Posted by
12598 posts

Because I am going in May I would be concerned that the clothes will
be a slightly heavier weight

I don't know when exactly in May you're going but we've been to both Rome and Florence in mid-to-late May and both were plenty warm. We'd brought light jackets - which is what I'd recommend versus heavy shirts - and think we only used them for a short time one very early morning out on the Appia Antica (should have left them at the hotel) and off-and-on one day of sporadic, heavy rain.

Posted by
940 posts

Teresa, this is how we did laundry when we took the RS 21 day trip: Note that outdoor temps were never hot and sometimes quite cool. That may be different on your trip, requiring more frequent laundering.
Every 1-2 nights: wash underwear, roll in towel and twist, hang on hanger with clips only on back of underwear so it gaps open. Hang in room (not bathroom) to dry. Hanging them like this instead of laying them over something allows air to circulate and dry them faster. If it was cold and we had a radiator on in the room we laid them over that. (We each brought three hangers and some clips in our backpacks)
Every 3 nights: merino socks and any shirts that needed it.
Every 6-7 days: jeans/pants
I took three pants. Instead of rotating all three in use, I wore each pair several days in a row until I felt they needed to be cleaned. That way, even if I procrastinated on laundry and had two pairs drying, I still had a clean pair to wear. Nobody noticed and nobody would have cared if they had.
For both shirts and pants I found that shaking them out real good after being twisted in the towel got out most of the wrinkles and the wrinkles continued to fall out as our clothes dried. We never looked wrinkled or messy, but I had also tested my clothes for this at home.
The key to washing heavier items is 1] only wash when you will have at least two nights somewhere, and 2] do them as soon as you check into the room. That will give you up to six hours of extra drying time between check in time and when you would be returning from touring and dinner. The guide usually gave our group 30 minutes or so after check into to settle our stuff before touring began. We usually did not return to the hotel until sometime after dinner. Hubby and I each carried anything needing to be washed in a plastic trash bag placed in one of the outer pockets of our backpacks so it was quick and easy to get to. Also, in a few locations our room had outer shutters that would close. After washing clothes we would close the shutters and hang our clothes on it to dry between the closed window and the shutter. We did send our laundry out in Monterosso, but did it ourselves the rest of the time, either by hand or hotel laundry once. Staying several days in each city affords you plenty of time to do some hand laundry in the evening. I personally would not want to waste valuable sight seeing time in a laundry mat.
I loved all three of the cities you will be visiting on your tour, but maybe Florence the best.
Have a marvelous time on your tour!

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you everyone for the great tips. I am going in early May 5-16 (giving myself an extra day in Venice before the tour starts to get over jet lag) so figure I will need a light jacket for evening. The temps dip down in the 50s it looks like on avg in the evening and a high of about 74.

Posted by
37 posts

Luck you! We completed this tour in July and loved, loved, loved everything about it. Here are some tips:

Tour guide told us when we first met that she would pre arrange for anyine who needed laundry while in Florence. The hotel could do laundry for a reasonable fee...wash, dry and fold. She also got info for anyone who needed laundry done in Venice or Rome.

I didn't use the service at all and simply gave a decent wash and good rinse to occasional top or bottom. I washed only if I had a mimimum two nights ahead of me at any hotel to avoid damp, musty smell. I hung clothes on closet hangers with clips and they dried easily.

Buon viaggio!

Posted by
503 posts

To deal with variable weather conditions, don't think "heavier" - think layers! I did 3 weeks in Italy (in December and January) with a 21 inch carryon no problem. The weather ranged from cold and rainy (low 40's in Venice) to sunny and high 60's in Florence.

So what did I pack? 3 uniqlo heattech undershirts, 3 long sleeved t shirts, 2 thin merino wool pullovers and a waterproof shell and a packable lands end primaloft jacket, 3 pairs of jeans and two pairs of shoes - low boots and a pair of oxford style walking shoes.
Warmer days (in Florence) just a t shirt and scarf. Cold and rainy? I wore the undershirt, t shirt, pullover, primaloft and shell - with gloves and a scarf. With this assortment, I could add or remove layers depending upon the weather.

We did sink laundry a few times and we did have access to a a washing machine along the way. For wrinkles I use Downy wrinkle release. Refreshes clothes and removes wrinkles!!

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you for the information about the laundry option in Florence! That sounds perfect. And Downy is a great idea! No need to worry about a plug adapter for a steamer.

Posted by
58 posts

We had the hotel do it for us a couple times, but I’m not sure in what town. The travel streamer is intriguing to me, it sounds like a good idea. We are doing the village of Italy tour this year and it might come in handy.